The most recent Obama-Clinton debate drew little blood, but we noted a few factual claims that could use correcting or clarifying: Clinton wrongly implied that Obama had little or no accomplishments to his credit. Obama recited a list of achievements at both the state and federal level, which we found to be accurate.
Q: Are polls skewed because many people only have cell phones?
A: Poll-takers worry a lot about this. A recent study indicates that polling results aren't yet affected very much. We're not so sure.
Q: Were there really weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the U.S. invaded in 2003?
A: No. The Iraq Survey Group determined that Iraq had abandoned its quest to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and that it had already destroyed all of its existing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Q: What is the difference between GDP and GNP?
A: GDP is the market value of everything produced within a country; GNP is the value of what’s produced by a country’s residents, no matter where they live.
Q: What happens to a candidate’s leftover campaign funds when he or she drops out of the race?
A: The big rule is: no personal use.
Do candidates for elected office keep donations to their campaigns for personal use after they lose or drop out? Or do those donations have to go into a greater party fund?
As Bob Biersack from the Federal Election Commission points out,
In television ads, Clinton’s campaign says her health care plan is the only one that will provide universal coverage, while Obama says his plan will cover all Americans, too. We find: Obama is being misleading when he says his proposal would “cover everyone.” It would make coverage available to all, but experts we consulted estimate that 15 million to 26 million wouldn’t take it up unless required to do so.
Q: Is a minimum-wage worker officially in poverty?
A: A single person working full time at the minimum wage would be barely above the poverty line. A single parent would be below it.
I have always believed that the poverty line was below minimum wage. Is the poverty line usually less than minimum wage? Historically has this situation improved over time?
The federal minimum wage has been $5.85 per hour since July 24,
In separate, 30-minute question-and-answer sessions sponsored by The Politico and a Washington, D.C., television station, Obama and Clinton for the most part stuck to the facts – or, often, to statements that were matters of judgment and thus out of our bailiwick. But, our mission being to point out the diminutive distortions as well as the big, fat slabs of baloney, we bring you flubs we found in last night’s non-debate:
Q: Who are the superdelegates and can they change their votes once they are "committed"?
A: Democratic "superdelegates" may vote as they see fit.
Ron Paul doesn’t have much of a chance of winning the Republican nomination, but he persists with his well-funded campaign and even talks of turning it into a permanent “Revolution” that will continue far beyond 2008. We’ve given his statements little attention until now. But here we look at some of his more outlandish claims.